Did you just write a killer blog post? Or do you have an event/product to promote?
The Problem of Sharing Links on Facebook
If so, you probably rely, at least partially, on linking to your webpage through Facebook. But lately Facebook is showing outbound links to such a small percentage of your page followers, that it’s potentially detrimental to blogs and businesses alike.
Bloggers have it worst because even when people click on a link through a Facebook and decide to share a blog post, they don’t share or interact on the Facebook post–they do it directly from the blog. So the Facebook post gets no interaction and therefore Facebook views it as irrelevant. Before I developed the Wave System I’ll outline below, my outbound links were being seen by less than 10% of the followers on my page.
I’ve spent a lot of time and money to acquire the fans on my pages; but when I write a blog post or have a sale that my readers can benefit from, Facebook doesn’t allow me to tell anybody about it.
Within 20 minutes, any post with a link from your Facebook post falls so far down the feed, it’s rendered useless.
By this time, you should know that the more interaction you get on a post, the more people will see it. If you have figured out a way to get people to interact on your promotional posts, I’m all ears. I’ve tested on 10 different pages and still haven’t figured it out.
Since payment buttons, squeeze page, and blogs usually exist outside of Facebook, you need people to click a link—a link that Facebook doesn’t want to show them.
You’re then left with two bad options:
Bad Option #1 – You can continue to post sales material multiple times a day and preface it sheepishly with words like:
In case you missed it earlier, just a reminder we’re having a big sale on our super premium widgets today.”
This way more people will see the ad, but it also means you’re no longer adding value to your followers and will probably get your page hidden.
Bad Option #2 – You can decide to pay for Facebook’s “pay to promote” feature. I like Facebook ads, but am I the only one who has noticed that it gets more and more expensive? It costs me $1,000 to promote a SINGLE POST to the followers on one of my pages.
I already run Facebook ads continuously, but $1,000 to promote a single post to my existing fans is almost never worth it–especially to promote a blog post and not product sale. And, for almost every Facebook page owner that runs a small business, it’s out of the question.
To put it bluntly, you’re screwed. All that time, money, and effort you spent building up a Facebook page has gone for naught. Facebook is evil right? Would you agree that they are greedy pigs that are systematically squashing small businesses?
Facebook is Forcing Marketers to Evolve
Facebook used to be a place where lazy marketers could get heard. All they had to do was put sales pitches in the feed and generated big email lists that turned into sales. But now I can’t log onto Facebook without seeing a marketer (or even the occasional social media expert) complaining that Facebook is evil and is making it impossible to succeed.
Make no mistake; Facebook is still the most powerful marketing medium on the planet. That is, of course, if you know how to use it.
I say this because, through a lot of experimentation, I’ve developed a system to select the posts I want Facebook to show to my audience for free. With a bit of planning, I’ve repeatedly gotten status updates with outbound links to my blog posts and event promotions to 50-75% of the users on my page. And no, I don’t do this by combining my links with cheap pictures, motivational quotes, or memes.
This article will teach you exactly how to trick Facebook into showing your blog posts and promotional status updates, which get little to no interaction themselves, to the majority of your users for free. In addition, I’ve included a bonus section at the bottom where I show you how to identify specific groups within your page and target them, also for free.
The First Step is Understanding EdgeRank
EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm for determining relevance. While the specifics often change, the constant is that Facebook is trying to figure out who and what you want to listen to. It does this largely by tracking your interactions.
“Like” an update, click on a picture, watch a video, or share an article, and your affinity towards whoever shared that article goes up. (Note: This is obviously a very superficial overview about EdgeRank, but it’s enough to understand my system below.)
The Wave System – How to Manipulate EdgeRank and use it to Your Advantage
I’ve been experimenting on 10 different Facebook accounts for two years. Despite all of Facebooks changes, it has always worked and will always work in a predictable pattern.
I’ve used the Wave System to build multiple fan pages with 15,000+ members in a matter of months. Not only that, these are users who are avidly interested in my business and purchase my products.
I’ll be sharing one example of each different type of post I used in the example from the picture below. This was a promotion for a conference I’m holding. The result was that Facebook showed this post 78% of my fans for free. It did this because of the insane relevance I was able to build up in the days previous using my 4 step system below.
It takes some planning on your part. Here are the 4 steps to the Wave System:
Step 1 - Collect what you predict will be a series of very viral photos. Whenever you come across something that you think will get a ton of interaction, put it in a special folder.
There are probably pages that already serve your demographic. Take a couple of hours and go through their archives. Download the viral memes or pictures that do the best on your competitors pages and put them in your folder—why start over when somebody else has already done the work for you? (Note, always give proper attribution to photos if you can. Most people don’t on Facebook, but don’t be a jerk like most people.)
Step 2 - The most viral pictures and status updates concern a controversial or often discussed subject pertaining to your industry or the perception of your industry.
Write the biggest public misconceptions about your industry. What is it that gets under your skin as a professional? Write that down.
Next, on that document, note the side of the controversy that your audience firmly sites on.
Below is a picture of an example I used to generate a lot of shares and likes leading up to my conference promotion. I know that trainers get frustrated when people say that they need to wait for everything to be perfect to start working out (because it never will be). So I posted a viral photo and added in a bit of a rant in the description for good measure.
Step 3 - 2 days before you plan on putting out a promotional post start to publish 4-6 viral pictures or status updates that you expect get a ton of interaction. Pull them directly from your file in steps 1 and 2. Refer to my post called, “When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?” to pinpoint, to the minute, the best times to publish these posts for your audience.
The more people that interact with these multiple posts the better. Continue to publish 4-6 times a day generating as many likes, comments, and shares as possible. The purpose is to generate as much relevancy from as many of your fans as possible towards your page.
The most effective status updates in terms of gaining relevancy are those that hit on a public misconception that affects your industry. It’s likely a source of common frustration and one that your audience will want to share to help education their friends and family by sharing the post. Below is an example I recently used.
Step 4 - When it comes time to post your promotion, publish the post with your sale or call to action. For the next 2-3 days, wave in and out viral materials.
Your promotional post will not get much interaction. But, because you’ve build up so much relevancy the previous two days, Facebook will show automatically show your post to more people.
For the next 2-3 days, wave in and out promotional materials with viral posts. This way, Facebook will continue to show your promotional posts to a higher percentage of your page users.
How to Use Questions
One other option for increasing affinity to a large group of people is to ask questions that you expect to get a lot of interaction. I poll my audience for two distinct different reasons: information collection and relevance building. Allow me to give an overview of both.
Information Collection Questions – My Facebook page is my focus group. Often I’ll ask them questions like, “what topics do you want me to cover in the coming weeks?” or I might be doing one of my many experiments. For example, if you read my article linked above on the best time to post on Facebook, you’ll note that I did an experiment where I wanted to find out the most common times my following exercised. So I asked them, and hired administrative help to graph it for me.
Relevance Building - Getting a lot of comments on a status update is a fantastic way to increase relevancy to a number of followers on your page. Sometimes I’ll rile up my audience by choosing a controversial subject that affects them, arguing one side, and asking for their input. Below is an example (note that this was two days before I promoted my conference):
Bonus Section – Using the Wave System to Pre-Select Your Audience
I was in a social media gathering last week and a good question came up. The question (paraphrased) was, “My Company offers different services that appeal to different types of people. Is it a problem to promote all of the services to my entire page or will that turn off the groups that aren’t interested in that one service?”
I’m in a similar situation here. My page for personal trainers promotes both nutrition and exercise products. I use the Wave System to manipulate EdgeRank to pre-select my audience.
The best way to illustrate this is with an example:
Let’s say I’m going to be promoting a nutrition program in 3 days time. I would start the wave system as per the steps above, but would only use viral photos that were nutrition based. This way, the people who were interested in nutrition would like and comment on those posts. The people who weren’t interested in nutrition would ignore them.
Then, when it comes time to put my first promotion up, the people who my content pre-selected would be shown the promotion and those who aren’t interested in nutrition wouldn’t.
It’s not perfect, but it works reasonably well.
Facebook is not evil, quite the opposite. Facebook is powerful and, if you understand how to use it, can be the most important marketing tool at your disposal.
Never forget though, the purpose of Facebook is not to collect fans; it’s to find your audience so that you can get them off of Facebook and onto an email list. Use the Wave System to get people to your squeeze pages and into your marketing funnel.
Jonathan Goodman is a 2X author and the creator of Viralnomics. He is currently offering free enrollment to his 20-day content creation course.